Tectonics from topography: Constraining spatial and temporal landscape response rates to Teton fault activity using low-T thermochronology, quantitative geomorphology, and limnogeologic analyses

Grants and Contracts Details


The rate of landscape response to changes in tectonic forcing determines how landscapes ‘record’ tectonic processes, and thus the sensitivity of this response represents a fundamental hurdle to accomplishing the longstanding goal of deriving ‘tectonics from topography’ (e.g. Wobus et al. 2006; Miller et al. 2012). Ultimately, understanding this time-integrated coupling between tectonic (or climatic) forcing and the subsequent landscape response remains as one of the greatest challenges in tectonics and geomorphology (Tucker 2009). This enigma persists primarily because: (a) interactions between tectonics, climate, and the landscape response is two-way coupled (Whittaker 2012) and (b) understanding the nature and rate of landscape response across a range of timescales requires that these processes can be documented in landscape features that represent a variety of nested temporal scales (e.g. Dadson et al. 2003). Thus, to execute these natural experiments and resolve these signals, it is necessary to identify study areas that allow for many of these boundary conditions to be constrained independently (e.g. Tucker 2009; Whittaker 2012). The Teton Range in Wyoming, which results from motion on the crustal-scale Teton fault, represents an idealized natural laboratory in which we can examine linkages between these processes. Pronounced along-strike variations in long-term fault slip onset timing, duration, and rate continue to be carefully documented (Brown 2010; Brown et al. 2017; Hoar et al. 2017), allowing for independent controls on this first-order boundary condition. This first-order constraint, combined with consistent climatic variation along the length of the Teton Range, provides a unique opportunity to examine how the landscape response varies with changes in tectonic forcing along strike and across a range of temporal scales. We propose to use this system to explicitly test the hypothesis that landscape response scales directly and evenly with tectonic forcing across a range of temporal wavelengths (specifically, 10-7, 10-4-5 , and 10-2 yr timescales).
Effective start/end date7/1/186/30/19


  • University of Wyoming: $5,000.00


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